Saturday, August 3, 2013

Harris and Shermer v Chopra and Houston Does God have a Future?

This debate ( audio | video | 1h36m11s ) took place in 2010 between Michael Shermer and Sam Harris v Deepak Chopra and Jean Houston.

2 stars.

APF review: 3.5/5

This one is pretty bad. The reason why it is scored higher is cause I want to like Sam Harris so I am giving it points because I think this is one of his better performances...though Chopra and Houston were not the most formidable opponents.

Chopra is a quack and Houston just wanted to talk about herself. Shermer is too nice of a guy and concedes wayyyyy too much. It also seems like he never does anymore than a cursory research on the background of his opponents and thinks that just general skepticism is enough to succeed in a public debate.

By the Bill Maher-like crowd responses laced throughout the debate, you can tell that, sadly, general skepticism doesn't when over the wishy-washy insane rhetoric of Deepak Chopra...I mean, it seemed like the crowd would even applaud for Jean Houston and I think it was just because of the vague-uplifty-ness of her babbling.

Only Sam Harris came off well, and hence the fact that I decided to give this debate a 2. Another debate that Harris came off well in (and is much better than this one) is the one he did in Mexico with Hitch and Dennett.

I posted about this one because of Harris and two other things:
1) What's up with the most terrible debate examples happening to be on network television? Are there more that I don't know of? The only other one that comes to mind is the one between the Rational Response Squad and Kirk Comfort in 2007. That debate was awful, sans one interaction where I think Kelly gave the greatest explanation for one common misconception of speciation I have ever heard...which was lost on the popular audience.
2) Debate topics. This is another terrible debate topic, I mean, of course god has a future, humans will probably never stop believing in the supernatural. Atheists need to be better about the topics they pick and in the near future I am gonna make a mega-post of debates with solid debate topics and a list of views on this subject and so on.

Technical: Great AQ and was on TV!

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